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WIAW – The Ultimate Vail Food Post

Posted Jan 03 2013 12:20am

Beware, readers, this post is seriously photo-heavy.  Not to mention, food-porn heavy.


I know, I’m a little late for What I Ate Wednesday, but I wanted to share all my eats from my ski trip in one post, and I didn’t want these pictures sitting around for another week unpublished.  So here we go:

BREAKFASTS

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Most days breakfast looked something like this.  Delicious, al-dente oatmeal prepared by Dad (one of my favorite parts of family vacation – breakfast is ready when I wake up!), topped with the works.

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And coffee on the side.  On non-oatmeal days, it was plain greek yogurt under a mess of fruit and almond butter.  Nothing special, but it works.

LUNCHES

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A mix of lunches on the mountain, and at restaurants in Vail village.  Veg burritos on the mountain,

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Fish tacos at Red Lion (side note- anyone ever had Wahoo? that’s the fish in those tacos, I’m a little surprised I’ve never heard of it!)

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Crunchy veggie salad at Pepi’s

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Spinach salad (no cheese, no meat, add hummus) at Blue Moose Pizza  in Lionshead Village

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Asian bowl at the Terrace at Mid-Vail restaurant! (easily one of my favorite lunches, wish we could have eaten here more than one day)

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And the last mountain lunch at Two Elk Lodge (top of the mountain)- veggie chili and cornbread (more like corn cake, but SO delicious with chipotle Cholula on top! #strangebutgood)

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Los Amigos mexican – weird guacamole (something not quite right with the flavor) and addicting chips.

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BLUE CORN enchiladas!  With shredded chicken, and that amazing green chili salsa.  I ate every last bite. (that’s one thing about skiing, makes my appetite go crazy)

DINNERS

We ate most dinners out, and had a chance to try some of the best restaurants Vail had to offer. First up, the Larkspur .

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Started with a cocktail – the 919 vodka, white wine (forget which grape), elderflower liqueur. Light, but tasty.

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Shared some of Mom’s caesar salad with potato croutons.  Definitely one of the best parts of the meal, but a little too heavy on the dressing.

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for dinner – salmon with israeli couscous, wild mushrooms, bok choy in tomato butter sauce.  Definitely tasty, but really rich.  I have to say, this dinner didn’t quite measure up to our standards.  The place is advertised as the best restaurant in Vail, a definite foodie destination.  But every dish was a little heavy on the umami, much to rich for me.

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That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy dessert :-) [[hey, it's vacation!]]  I got the roasted banana and chocolate napoleon.

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I don’t think I liked that one very much ;-)

Next up, Bol – a modern restaurant and bowling alley in Vail’s Solaris.

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Started with a market salad, which was right up my alley (pun intended… bowling alley… okay I’m done)!  It had roasted asparagus, radishes, sunflower seeds, caraway, and a very light vinaigrette.  I could have easily eaten twice this much!

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Since there were no entrees really calling my name, I went with appetizers for dinner (I often do this when there aren’t tons of veg entrees.  plus, I like the smaller portions – more room for tasting!).  Spicy chickpea fritters with pickled veggies and yogurt raita.

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Sunchokes and sprouts with apple butter and roasted apples.  A meal so satisfying, dessert wasn’t even on my mind.

Next – La Bottega , Vail’s best (supposedly) Italian food.

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Started with a salad – I was a little bummed that they put cheese on it.  Actually, in general I was a bit put off by the fact that there was cheese or meat or some other rich ingredient (truffles everywhere!) on even seemingly “light” or healthy dish.  But it’s really not the end of the world, so eventually I got over it.

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Mom’s putanesca – I had a few bites and this was good.  She said it was very authentic tasting.

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My (rather ugly but very tasty) tuscan white bean soup.  Again there weren’t any entrees that really appealed to me, (the one thing I really wanted, they were out of for the night!!!) so I went for a big bowl of soup.  And thoroughly enjoyed it.

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But still had room for dessert.  And man, this tiramisu hit the spot.  Totally worth the stomachache ;-)

We weren’t planning to go out quite this much, but my Dad wanted to meet up with a friend of his from college, so they made a reservation at Tavern on the Square , in Lionshead Village.  It was advertised as a farm-to-table place with high quality standards, so I was all for it.

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I can’t remember why, but I wasn’t too terribly hungry for dinner that night, so I just went with a beet salad with local goat cheese (my ultimate dairy weakness), greens, and pesto crostini.  Simple and delicious, definitely something I would make on my own.

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The sister and I spotted the Guiness s’mores on the dessert menu, and wanted to give it a try.  It was quite a real s’more, but more like brownie sundae with marshmallows and graham cracker crumbles.  Good, but not fantastic.  A couple of the others ordered a pint of the rosemary-honey homemade ice cream, that I thought was fantastic.  But again, not terribly hungry, so I had a bite or two and called it a night.

Last, but certainly not least – Matsuhisa , probably the best restaurant we went to on this trip.  It’s a Nobu Matsuhisa restaurant, one of a his many Japanese restaurants that are some of the best in the country.

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started with perfectly cooked edamame.

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unfiltered cold sake for the table

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I started with the kelp salad – which was like nothing I had ever had at a Japanese restaurant.  It was a bit fishy tasting, but when dipped in the sauce and squirted with lemon, was a perfect, fresh way to begin the meal.

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Hamachi (yellowtail) jalapeño appetizer.  One of our all-time favorites.

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Ahi tuna poke with shredded hearts of palm.  I love that sushi dishes are so light, yet so satisfying!

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For our maki, I usually let Dad order, as I’m happy to eat whatever he chooses!  This time we went with two special rolls – the house special (4 different fish and avocado wrapped in daikon) and the salmon special (don’t remember what was in it, but it was easily the best dish of the night!).

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Tuna and crispy rice, a Matsuhisa specialty, eaten like so…

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SO good!  I can’t say I’ve ever had something quite like it at a Japanese restaurant. Yum.

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And of course we couldn’t pass up dessert.  Sister had the mochi ice cream (I had half of the green tea),

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and I chose the coconut-banana spring rolls, served with homemade vanilla ice cream. I was not expecting a fried dessert, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  It’s hard to go wrong with coconut and banana (in my book at least).

TREATS AND SNACKS

As an after-ski treat, we usually walk around the shops in the village a bit and stop for a specialty coffee.  Our java joint of choice this vacation was Yeti’s Grind in Solaris.

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Almond milk lonestar latte (a mocha with cinnamon & cayenne!) and half of a cookie dough cupcake.  Oh man, that was good.

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Good express and latte art = good coffee shop.  Rachel seal of approval.

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The cookie dough cupcake, before cutting in half to share with Mom.

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Another day – the coffee and doughnuts cupcake!  Also delicious, it’s a toss up for which one was my favorite.

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also split with mom, this time with an *extra spicy* almond milk chai.

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And the very last thing – ski snacks!  Most days, I pack a Kind bar or Larabar to eat mid-morning for an energy boost.

Vail was definitely a different foodie experience for me, but once I got over the fact that I wasn’t going to find my perfect meal at every restaurant, I had a great time.  I definitely indulged a bit more than usual, and I’m ready to get back to some fresher eats.  And cut back on the cupcakes and lattes just a bit.

Choose one dish from this post -which would be your favorite?

Do you indulge more on vacation? I know I do, and I have no qualms about it!

[[PS - I'm now back in Chicago for a few weeks.  Chicago friends, let's hang]]

[[PPS - my Birthday is in less than a week!  I can't believe I'm already 22.  but I do love birthdays :-) ]]

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